1. In any event, my question remains the same.

  2. In any event, my question remains same.

I think that the fisrt alternative is OK. But why is the definite article used before the adjective without the noun?


Same as an adjective

Most adjectives can be used either attributively or predicatively. Attributively, adjectives appear before the noun they modify ("the red car", "big house"); predicatively, they appear after a verb ("the car is red", "the house looks big").

But some adjectives are only used attributively, or only predicatively. Oxford Dictionaries has these examples:

There are some adjectives that can only be used in one position or the other. For example, these two sentences are grammatically correct:

✓ She was alone that evening. [‘alone’ = predicative ]

✓ It was a mere scratch. [‘mere’ = attributive]

These sentences, on the other hand, are not correct:

✗ I saw an alone woman. [‘alone’ cannot be used in the attributive position]

✗ The scratch was mere. [‘mere’ cannot be used in the predicative position]

The adjective "same" is almost exclusively attributive, hence the use of the notation "[ before noun ]" in the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - so you can't say "my question remains same".

Same as a pronoun

In addition to its adjectival use, the dictionaries also classify "same" as a pronoun, and in this use it is preceded by "the" (as the dictionaries also note).

It is this pronominal or quasi-pronominal use of "same" that you see in "my question remains the same".

The pronoun "same" isn't used without "the", except sometimes in legalese and commercialese.

The OED has this note on "same", adjective and pronoun:

Normally preceded by the, except after a demonstrative; the omission of the article occurs only in dialectal or vulgar speech and in certain specially elliptical varieties of diction (e.g. in commercial correspondence). As the prefixed article is functionally a part of the word, it is often difficult to distinguish the simple predicative use (= ‘identical’) from the absolute and elliptical uses.

  • Thank you. "Normally preceded by the, except after a demonstrative“. I do not understand this part. Can you give me an example of that usage. – bart-leby Oct 14 '17 at 10:31
  • 1
    +1. Look at the security camera footage. A man turns the corner just as the bank robbers emerge from the bank. That same man was seen at the scene of the crime the previous day, looking up at the electrical wire that supplies the alarm system. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 14 '17 at 10:40

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